Surviving

Maybe “surviving” is too strong a word. More like “enduring,” or “persisting” or just plain “having patience.” Back on May 24, 2020, when the New York Times devoted its entire front page and three inside pages to the names of the 100,000 Americans who had died from Covid-19, it seemed like a shock to be shown the extent of the national tragedy. Now, eight months later, the death toll has reached 400,000, which by my reckoning exceeds the number of our dead from World War One, World War two, the Korean War and the Vietnam Wars combined. It makes for an incredibly depressing exercise and a reminder of the slow-motion nightmare we have been through. Four years ago, when he became president, I warned my friends and colleagues about what we were in for. Some thought I was exaggerating and that our political institutions would provide the necessary guardrails. Others agreed he was unusual to an extreme but figured the adults in the room would contain him. For many liberal observers, it was all just part of a normal political cycle, the ebbs and flows, highs and low, which we had been through before and would go through again. I...Read more

Capitol Blues

First they turned the Capitol blue. Then they turned it red. As if 2020 had not been exhausting enough. I’m already tired of 2021. Between Tuesday night’s election, Wednesday’s riotous insurrection and the subsequent endless news cycle chronicling the fallout and pressure on the President, I feel like all we have done lately is watch TV while not quite being able to believe or process all we are seeing. One thing I am certain of. To those who say “This is not who we are;” it might not be who we want to be, but it’s what we have become of late. I can’t help but to think of Mike Pence. He was hiding out in a bunker in the basement of the Capitol Building Wednesday afternoon, having been interrupted from the solemn process of reading the results of the Electoral College affirming Joe Biden’s perfectly legal election as the 46th President of the United States. Within minutes he’s swept away for his own safety, hiding from any angry mob, and likely fearing for his life and for the lives of his Congressional colleagues – some of whom he was with at the moment. It must have flashed even through...Read more
Pandenomics

Pandenomics

For all the coverage of the pandemic, there’s been precious little if any sense of what changes are in store for our world. In most articles and conversations, the focus is on a “return to normal,” though sometimes there’s a phrase added in, like “whatever that will be.” With the advent of vaccines that are now (too) slowly being distributed, there’s good reason to be hopeful that we will finally get back to a modicum of recognizable life, including seeing peoples’ faces, embracing folks we love, and going out shopping and dining without fear of contracting the virus. I, too, am tired of Zoom meetings and need to get back out in the field. But what will that field look like? The ongoing discussions about economic recovery do little to illuminate the full scope of what lies ahead. These models of supply and demand, income and spending, tax rates and tax revenues, are generally based in a static economic model of a business cycle. Thus the recurring reference to the stock market index or quarterly growth rates in employment and consumer spending. None of that tells us what the post-pandemic world might look like. At the risk of sounding like...Read more